We believe that safety is the most important part of our whole project. At the beginning, we considered a lot about designing our project to ensure that our project would not cause any safety problems. As soon as we entered the lab, we trained our team members to obey the basic safety rules and also formulated many new rules during the experiments. Covid-19 also affected us a lot, however, we already had strategies to protect ourselves. (For detailed information, please refer to Safety form)
1.Safety for our project
This year we designed the project Mr.Tony, an optimized humanistic device for perming and dyeing hair, based on engineered yeast producing natural pigments and short peptides.
Why did we choose Pichia pastoris GS115 as our chassis?
Because Pichia pastoris GS115 is almost risk-free creature. It has no infectiousness and no obvious pathogenicity as well. In particular, due to its histidine deficiency, even if it escapes from the lab, it won't cause damage to the community or the environment.
Why did we choose lycopene, indigo and curcumin to dye hair?
The three kinds of pigment have a long using history in human's life. They are green and healthy. (For detailed information, please refer to Design)
Why did we choose short peptides to perm hair?
The short peptides are small enough to enter the cortex through the cuticle and form dislocated disulfide bonds with α-keratins, which can change the shape of hair without damaging people's hair.(For detailed information, please refer to Design)
Why did we design the fading pathway?
We created perming and dying pathways and we also want to design a system to control them. If we want to remove the pigment, we can use xylose to induce the fading pathway, then resume the hair to its original state.(For detailed information, please refer to Design)
Why did we choose xylose induced promoter pynr071c?
Methanol is widely used to induce Pichia pastoris GS115's expression. But considering the final usage of Mr.Tony, we decided to change the promoter into pynr071c(BBa_K3711001. Because xylose is safer than methanol for people.
Why did we design our own fermentation bottle?
In our design, we didn't want to let our engineering yeast stay on people's hair. So, we plan to make our yeast secrete enzymes to catalyze substrate into pigment. For the convenience of people, we designed this fermentation bottle so that people can use it in their homes or other places.(For detailed information, please refer to Hardware)
About the hair we use in our experiments
We purchased the hair from an online shop and some barber shops, planning to take the human hair into our BSL-1 lab for experiments rather than taking our enzymes to the barber shop. The Safety Committee knew of our plan and was happy to approve our work!
2.Safety in the lab
Biosafety Laws in China
Figure 1: Biosafety Laws in China
The Biosafety Law of the people's Republic of China was adopted at the 22nd meeting of the standing Committee of the 13th National people's Congress on October 17, 2020. All of our work must obey the law.
We trained our team members about the lab safety rules. And we especially invited Shuhan Dai as our safety officer. She taught us how to use experimental equipment and remind us to pay attention to the safety of the laboratory.
Figure 2: study the safety of lab
Basic lab rules
We made a series of rules to help members recall the importance of safety: to put things more orderly, to do experiments more clearly and to adapt the environment more easily.
3.Safety during Covid-19
We must wear a mask when we entered the lab before September 1st to protect ourselves from Covid-19. And in this period, we can't go outside of school. In this way, we get a healthy environment to doing experiments.
Figure 3: Safety during Covid-19
Terrific isn't it! You and me will suffer less undesired health consequences after perming and dyeing if we use their products! Are you curious about how to apply their products in real life as I am? Let's check it out in the proposed implementation part!